I’ve never been much of a cookie-maker, but one year the kids requested gingerbread cookies. They’d been visiting friends and making gingerbread houses. Since I was trying to find a way to incorporate molasses and dates (for a shorter labor) into my daily diet, the idea of gingerbread cookies sounded pretty good. So I started experimenting with a grain-free, high-protein, spiced molasses and date gingerbread cookie recipe.
Nutrient-Dense Ingredients for Healthy Gingerbread Cookies
After several failed attempts, I’m happy with these fragrant and delicious cookies. They are free of refined sweeteners and packed with nutrient-dense ingredients. Not only do they taste delicious, but I don’t mind letting the kids have them (or eating them myself) because of the benefits of their ingredients:
- Molasses: a great natural source of iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, and copper. It has many beneficial properties such as improving digestion, reversing gray hair, and helping battle anemia.
- Dates: a fruit that is often eaten alone or used as a natural sweetener. They are said to be anti-inflammatory and are often suggested for heart health, healthy blood pressure, and brain health. When I found a study about how consuming dates regularly could shorten labor, I decided to give them a try.
- Almond Flour: high in protein, filling, and nourishing
- Cinnamon: a little spice with a lot of benefits, cinnamon has immune-boosting and infection-fighting properties, and is often used to help regulate blood sugar. It also tastes delicious!
- Ginger: so many great health effects, including easing nausea and calming coughing. Read more about it here. And check out this post for some great info on storing fresh ginger.
Of course, no cookie is great for daily consumption. Although between the health benefits of the ingredients and the minimal sweeteners used, I’d say these are as close as they come.
Making the Cookies
Gingerbread cookies are a classic Christmas dessert. Even the scent of them evokes memories of childhood gingerbread house making and tree decorating.
In general, making cookies is pretty straight-forward. You mix together the dry ingredients, mix together the wet ingredients, then mix the two together. I follow the same pattern with these cookies, with the exception of using a blender for the wet ingredients. It’s the easiest way to get a smooth consistency with the dates.
I usually chill to dough for at least 15 minutes to let it firm up a bit before rolling it into balls. If you don’t you’ll have a sticky mess on your hands… literally.
The final two steps are optional. The first is the sugar. I like to roll my cookie dough balls in organic coconut sugar. It looks beautiful and gives the cookies a nice crunchy crust on the outside.
The second is the pressing. These cookies don’t flatten out on their own while they’re cooking so you can either smash them gently with the bottom of a glass before baking, or make a criss-cross pattern with a fork halfway through baking. Or you can make life simpler and just leave them in balls!
We had a great time making these for Christmas and I hope you will too. They aren’t overly sweet, but if you aren’t used to a lot of processed desserts, they have the perfect balance of sweet and spice.
Or Use It as a Crust!
It didn’t take me long to discover this recipe also makes an incredible grain-free crust for a pumpkin pie or gingerbread cheesecake!
Gingerbread Cookies Recipe with Dates & Molasses
- 3½ cups almond flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 TBSP fresh ginger (grated, or 1 tsp powdered ginger)
- 4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch cloves
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup butter ( or coconut oil, melted)
- 12 pitted dates
- ¼ cup almond milk ( or or coconut milk)
- 1/3 cup organic blackstrap molasses
- ¼ cup coconut sugar (optional)
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl mix together the almond flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and coconut flour.
- In a blender blend the eggs, melted butter or coconut oil, dates, almond or coconut milk, and molasses.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Dough should be thick enough to form balls, but not quite as thick as playdough.
- You may need to add an extra ½ cup almond flour or 1 tablespoon coconut flour to get the correct consistency. If dough is too thick, add 1 tablespoon almond or coconut milk at a time to get desired texture.
- Refrigerate dough for at least 15 minutes to let harden slightly. This will make it easier to form for baking.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Carefully roll the dough into 1 inch balls.
- If using sugar, roll the dough in a light coating of sugar for texture and to help prevent sticking.
- Place dough on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes. Halfway through baking, remove from oven and make marks with a fork, if desired. This step is completely optional but creates the look of traditional molasses cookies.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before carefully removing from baking sheet.
Were gingerbread cookies a part of your childhood?